Resident Evil's Portable History
A look back at more than ten years of pocket zombies.
Capcom's Resident Evil franchise has thrived on consoles, particularly Resident Evil 2 on the original PlayStation and then Resident Evil 4 on GameCube.
The series' portable games are a bit rockier. All of them have familiar Resident Evil staples like zombies, green herbs and familiar heroes and villains. The quality of these titles, though, is all over the place, from triple A experiences to sub par efforts most fans would turn up their noses at quicker than a rotting corpse.
On that note, grab the nearest lock pick, stock up on first aid sprays and look out for infected canines as we present Resident Evil's portable history.
You are about the enter the world of survival horror. Good luck.
Resident Evil Gaiden (Game Boy Color- 2001)
To say Resident Evil got off to a weird start on handhelds would be a huge zombie filled understatement. Capcom chose to bring its monster blasting (and relatively young) franchise to the Game Boy Color in this top down adventure starring Leon Kennedy and beloved goofball Barry Burton.
Set aboard a zombie filled cruise ship, the story revolves around an orphan girl with the uncanny knack for sensing biological weapons. Whenever players encounter an enemy, the game transitions to a first person perspective, where instead of pressing buttons to shoot, they line up a rapidly moving bar as it quickly moves back and forth across the screen.
Resident Evil: Deadly Silence (DS- 2006)
To celebrate Resident Evil's tenth anniversary, Capcom ported the original to Nintendo's DS with some interesting enhancements. Although much of the content remained the same, as gamers explored the creepy mansion as Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine, touch screen based puzzles, a first person knife mode that used the stylus and a Rebirth mode with additional enemies enhanced an already classic experience. Being able to turn 180 degrees was also a huge plus.
Resident Evil: Degeneration (iPhone- 2009)
After Paul W.S. Anderson mangled the series in Hollywood, Capcom chose to make its own Resident Evil film, a full-length computer generated flick called Degeneration. The game, released for the iPhone, is a fully 3D adventure that takes place in the zombie-infested Harvardville Airport. While not the most action packed Resident Evil, it still offers a few hours of monster blasting fun, and the option to shake the iPhone to ward off attacks is a nice touch.
Resident Evil 4 (iPhone/iPad- 2009, 2010)
Capcom stepped up its game with the iOS version of Resident Evil 4, which captures the best moments (the epic village scene, the battle with El Gigante) from the console smash hit while offering impressive graphics, especially on the iPad.
The story's essentially the same, as Leon explores a creepy European village in search of the president's daughter, Ashley Graham. Capcom chose to break the game into chapters and sacrifices were made to shoehorn the title onto the App Store, but you'll still get a quality RE4 fix on the go, complete with Mercenaries and Coin Shoot bonus modes.
Resident Evil Mercenaries Vs. (iPhone- 2011)
Mercenaries mode is one of Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5's guilty pleasures, so the concept of designing a game entirely based on this seemed like a fun idea. On the iPhone, it's a boring mess, with awkward controls, three environments and three playable characters: Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine and Albert Wesker. Not even four player online matches could save it.
Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D (3DS- 2011)
Capcom raised the bar for 3DS graphics while redeeming itself from the Mercenaries Vs. disaster with this flawed but fun arcade style shooter. Players were able to choose from the likes of Barry Burton, Rebecca Chambers, Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine, then set off to splatter the brains of infected villagers and crazed monks across environments yanked from Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5. A save file snafu landed the company in hot water with fans and review scores ranged from average to outstanding. We were somewhere in the middle.
Resident Evil: Revelations (3DS- 2012)
After suffering through some duds, fans will finally receive an outstanding portable Resident Evil in the form of Revelations, which strikes the U.S. February 7. Early reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, praising Capcom for the console quality graphics and more traditional Resident Evil style of play, with an abundance of "jump out of your seat" moments aboard a creepy ocean liner infested with all sorts of nasties.
We loved the short but sweet 3DS demo, and cannot wait to play through the final version in the weeks ahead.